If Russian is more often spoken in public places, Belarusian language is usually used in more intimate circumstances, among friends. This doesn’t mean all Belarusians switch to the Belarusian language when they come home or meet in a bar – yet, at least some people do. Overall, even Russian-speaking or bilingual Belarusians treat the Belarusian language with respect and sentiment.
The popularity of the Russian language is not surprising. In the Soviet times, the Belarusian language was treated as the language used for communication at home, in literature, humanities and folklore. Since mid-90s, the government has returned to the old Soviet tradition, sometimes going even further: cutting the number of schools where all subjects are taught in the Belarusian language. So, why those who learned Belarusian only as a school subject for 45 minutes a day – or a week - wish to make Belarusian their main language? The state radio and some state TV channels use Belarusian and Russian in their broadcasts. At the same time, many independent printed and online media outlets and external broadcasters choose Belarusian as their main language. There are NGOs and informal grassroots campaigns that work to promote the Belarusian language and culture: Belarusian Language Society, Association of Belarusians of the World ‘Fatherland’ and several others.
Russian-speakers who are keen to learn some Belarusian can visit the Belarusian language/culture courses that take place in Minsk every week:
Mova ci Kava
- Address: CECH, 58/6 Niezaležnasci Ave
- Opening hours: every Monday at 19:00
- Website: Mova ci Kava
- Address: Vul. Prytyckaha 29, 3rd floor, Room No 366. 200 m from Spartyǔnaja metro station. Tivali business centre
- Opening hours: every Monday at 18:30
- Contact data: +375 29 112-93-74, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: Mova Nanova